'Loose bodies' in left knee send Avila to DL

Catcher seeking second opinion, but surgery seems likely

'Loose bodies' in left knee send Avila to DL

DETROIT -- What began as a last-minute scratch from the lineup for Alex Avila with a bruised forearm now looks like a knee injury that will require a lengthy stay on the disabled list. The Tigers placed their catcher on the 15-day DL on Saturday with loose bodies in his left knee.

Avila was seeking a second opinion on Saturday morning, but he was anticipating some sort of procedure to remove what is most likely a bone fragment in his knee. If Avila undergoes arthroscopic surgery, a typical timetable for return would be six weeks.

"My expectation and my hope would be to be back and ready to go, good as new, for the second half [of the season]," Avila said. "That would be my hope, and I think that's a pretty realistic possibility."

While Avila's forearm bruise came from a foul tip on Thursday against the White Sox in Chicago, his knee had been bothering him for several weeks. He had played through it, but decided to have it checked out after being scratched on Friday. An MRI exam revealed the damage.

"It's been pretty painful for a while, for the past few weeks," Avila said. "Some days, it's been difficult just to walk around and stuff like that -- so I knew it was probably something a little more serious. ... Basically, I've been playing with it -- some days I'm not sure how -- but according to the doctor, it wouldn't be smart. I could probably do some more damage, so we're going to take care of it."

Avila throws out Colon

Avila has a minor history with that knee dating to tendinitis in 2012, but no surgeries. This doesn't seem to be related, and Avila said he can't think of a specific injury to the knee this year.

"Alex is a tough kid," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I really didn't know anything about it until yesterday during the game."

With Avila out, rookie James McCann will get the majority of the starts behind the plate, Ausmus confirmed. McCann, potentially the Tigers' regular catcher of the future, has spent the season as Avila's understudy, learning in the big leagues while getting select starts.

To back up McCann, the Tigers recalled Bryan Holaday from Triple-A Toledo. Holaday, who backed up Avila throughout last season, was batting .230 (14-for-61) with the Mud Hens, with three doubles, a home run and nine RBIs -- including the game-winning RBI for the Hens on Friday night against Charlotte.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.